So when BYU made it official that they were ditching the MWC, my first thought was that the MWC can kiss its shot at earning an automatic BCS bid good bye. But after looking at the BCS's procedure for future automatic berths, I'm not so sure. In fact, I think that TCU and Boise State are ecstatic about BYU's departure. Now Boise State and TCU will have the run of the conference but BYU's departure doesn't really hurt the MWC's chances at an automatic bid.
First of all, the BCS looks at the conference’s membership on Dec. 4, 2011. So, if nothing changes, MWC will be: Air Force, BSU, CSU, FSU, Nevada, NMSU, SDSU, TCU, UNLV, and Wyoming. Second, we all know that Conference USA and the Mid-American, Sun Belt, and WAC conferences suck, so I won't waste time discussing them. Third, because I cannot find the final BCS and/or computer rankings beyond 42 for 2008 and 25 for 2009, I will use the Sagarin rankings for anything beyond the top 42 or 25 respectively because they are readily available and should be close enough for our purposes. If you can find more accurate rankings, I will re-calculate my figures.
After the 2011 season the BCS will look at three different standards, based off of the 2008-2011 seasons, to determine the AQ conferences for 2012 and 2013 seasons. If the BCS continues under the same or a similar format, conferences will be evaluated on their performances during the 2010 to 2013 regular seasons to determine which conferences without bowl contracts will have automatic qualification for the bowls that will conclude the 2014-2017 regular seasons.
The first standard they will look at is the Average Ranking of Highest-Ranked Team. The ranking of the highest-ranked team in the final BCS Standings each year (if a conference does not place a team in the final BCS Standings, then its highest-ranked team is determined by the conference member that has the highest average ranking in the computer rankings used in the BCS Standings).
In 2008 that was:
1. Oklahoma (Big 12)
2. Florida (SEC)
5. USC (PAC-10)
8. PSU (Big Ten)
9. Boise State (MWC)
12. Cincinnati (Big East)
14. Georgia Tech (ACC)
In 2009 it was:
1. BAMA (SEC)
2. Texas (Big 12)
3. Cincinnati (Big East)
4. TCU (MWC)
7. Oregon (PAC-10)
8. OSU (Big Ten)
9. Georgia Tech (ACC)
This gives us the following 2008 & 2009 averages:
Big 12: (1+2)/2=1.5
Big East: (12+3)/2=7.5
Big Ten: (8+8)/2=8
Under this standard, the MWC is 4th and it would take a total breakdown on the MWC’s part and two great years by the ACC for them to drop out of the top 6. Essentially, the highest ranked ACC team has to average 5 spots better than the highest ranked MWC team and the Big East and Big Ten have to do slightly better than the MWC each year.
The second standard is the Average Conference Ranking. This looks at the final regular-season rankings of all conference teams in the computer rankings used by the BCS each year. The average conference rankings for 2008 & 2009 are: SEC=36.1, ACC=40, Big East=43.5, Big 12=44, Pac 10=49.25, Big Ten=54.2, and MWC=75.75. Surprisingly, the Big XII is the fourth best conference under this standard. If BYU was still in the MWC, it would bring their average down to 70.23 but the MWC would still be seventh. It would take two amazing years by all of the MWC schools to move into the top six in this standard. So, most likely, they'll remain the seventh conference under this standard.
The third standard is the Top 25 Performance Ranking. This standard counts the number of teams in the top 25 of the final BCS Standings each year, with adjustments to account for differences in the number of members of each conference. Points will be awarded to the conferences based on their teams’ finishes in the top 25 of the final BCS Standings each year. Points will be awarded as follows: Teams finishing 1-6: 4 points for each team; Teams finishing 7-12: 3 points for each team; Teams finishing 13-18: 2 points for each team; Teams finishing 19-25: 1 point for each team. The point totals will be adjusted to account for the size of the conference, as follows: 12 or more member=no adjustment; 10 or 11 members=points increased by 12.5 percent; 9 or fewer members=points increased by 25 percent. Thus, the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, and SEC will not have any adjustment; the Big XII and MWC will have their points increased by 12.5%, and the Big East will have its points increased by 50%. After adjustments, the conferences are as follows: SEC=23; Big XII=21.38; Pac-10=20; Big Ten=19; Big East=18; MWC=15.75; ACC=11. If BYU were to stay in the MWC, the MWC would have 18.
A conference will become the seventh automatic qualifier if it finishes among the top six conferences in both No. 1 and No. 2 and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 50 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3. The MWC will most likely fail to earn an AQ spot because it is seventh in No. 2.
However, a conference will be eligible to apply to the Presidential Oversight Committee for an exemption if it finishes among the top six in both No. 1 and No. 2 and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 33.3 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3 or if it finishes among the top seven in either No. 1 or No. 2 and among the top five in the other and if its ranking in No. 3 is equal to or greater than 33.3 percent of the conference with the highest ranking in No. 3. Here, the MWC will most likely be seventh in No. 2, fourth in No. 1, and its ranking in No. 3 is 68.48% of the SEC’s and it would be almost impossible for the MWC to drop below 33.3% of the SEC's point total.
So, even if BYU stayed in the MWC, the MWC would not be guaranteed an automatic birth. But, BYU's departure does not really hurt the MWC's chances of getting an exemption.
On the other hand, BYU will almost certainly not get a Notre Dame-like deal. So, even with the added revenue that will come from ESPN, did BYU really make a good decision? To me, it seems like Boise State and TCU are the biggest winners in all of this.